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Fishing Reports and Forecasts
Fishing Reports and Forecasts

Ohio offers many fantastic locations for the public to fish, including 124,000 acres of inland water, 7,000 miles of streams, 2.25 million acres of Lake Erie water, and 481 miles of the Ohio River. Use the fishing reports and forecasts below to help you plan for fishing success!

Other helpful resources we have available include lake mapsfishing tips by species, and the online interactive fishing map that allows you to select features to customize your own fishing maps for Ohio’s inland lakes. 

Be sure to check back, more information is coming soon!

Lake Erie

Lake Erie Fish Ohio Report

Last Updated: September 9, 2020 (Central Basin information updated September 17, 2020)

  • The daily bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is 6 fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleye is 15 inches.
  • The daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 fish per angler in all Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
  • Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): From May 1- June 26, the daily bag limit is 1 fish (singly or in combination) per angler with an 18-inch minimum size limit.
  • See the Ohio Fishing Regulations for more information.

Lake Erie - Western Basin

Walleye

  • Where: Fishing has been sporadic, as the fish are spread out in deeper, offshore waters. The best reports have come from North and East of Kelleys Island, and between Vermilion and Lorain in 40-50 feet of water.
  • How: Most anglers are having success trolling deep diving crankbaits or spoons behind dispsey divers. 

Largemouth Bass

  • Where: Fishing has been best in Sandusky Bay, the Portage River mouth, and various marinas in the Western Basin. More numbers of fish than quality fish being caught right now.  
  • How: Anglers are targeting the water depths 5-20 feet of water throwing squarebill crankbaits, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and various soft plastics.  

Channel Catfish

  • Where: Good action has been reported from the Sandusky Bay Bridge and surrounding area. 
  • How: Most anglers use slip sinker rigs with raw shrimp being the best bait. Other popular baits include nightcrawlers and cut shad. 


Lake Erie - Central Basin

Walleye

 

  • Where: Good fishing reported in 40-65’ of water north-northeast of Wildwood Park. Fish are suspended and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 30-50” of water. Excellent fishing continues in 70-72’ of water north-northeast of Fairport and in 70-74’of water north of Geneva. Anglers are targeting fishing depths of 45-50’ down in the water column above the thermocline. 
  • How: Anglers are casting orange, purple and pink spoons and crankbaits. Anglers are trolling using planer boards, dipsy and jet divers with crankbaits and spoons. Colors to try include white, orange, pink, purple, bronze/gold. 

The water temperature off Toledo is 72 degrees, off Cleveland 72 degrees and off Erie 72 degrees.

Anglers are encouraged to always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while on the water.

Lake Erie Steelhead Fishing Report

The Division of Wildlife annually stocks selected Lake Erie tributary streams with 6-8" yearling steelhead. These fish (called "smolts") migrate out into Lake Erie and spend the summer in the cooler part of the lake before returning to streams during the fall through the spring. Steelhead trout caught by anglers in the streams typically average 25" long and weigh 5-6 pounds. These fish have usually spent 2-3 summers out in the lake (see growth chart below). However, there are a good number of fish that are over 30 inches and weigh more than 10 pounds and have spent up to five summers in the lake.

Eggs are procured each spring from egg-taking operations in Michigan by the Michigan DNR (Little Manistee strain) and in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin DNR (Chambers Creek and Ganaraska strains). The steelhead strains we use are proven in Lake Erie and provide steelhead runs in our tributaries from fall through spring.  Eggs are raised at our Castalia State Fish Hatchery for around 11-12 months to the yearling stage, averaging 6-8" at release.

Ohio's primary steelhead streams are Vermilion, Rocky, Chagrin, Grand and Ashtabula rivers and Conneaut Creek. The Rocky, Chagrin and Grand rivers are scheduled to each receive 90,000 yearling steelhead annually. Conneaut Creek is scheduled to receive 75,000 fish from Ohio and 75,000 fish from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission each spring. The Vermilion River is scheduled to receive 55,000 steelhead annually. The Ashtabula River has begun to receive annual steelhead plants, now that water quality and habitat has improved, and annual hatchery production has exceeded 400,000 yearlings on a routine basis. Total targeted annual stocking numbers projected from Ohio's Castalia State Fish Hatchery is at around 450,000 steelhead.

Several other rivers including the Cuyahoga, Huron and Black rivers, and Arcola, Cowles, Wheeler, French, Euclid, Turkey, Beaver and Cold creeks get runs of stray steelhead. While Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists have noted a small amount of natural reproduction, it varies greatly from year-to-year. It is too low and erratic to support the quality fishery that has been developed and that anglers have come to expect. Good quantities of cold, spring water and adequate juvenile trout habitat are also rare in NE Ohio's Lake Erie tributaries. The fantastic fishing has been maintained by annual stocking and by the practice of most anglers to catch and release.

Recent Stocking Numbers (Yearlings)

STREAM     2015 2016  2017 2018 2019
Ashtabula - - 41,940 69,928 55,870
Chagrin     90,085 96,680 90,036 90,008 109,285
Conneaut 84,866 75,019 75,092 75,079 75,021
Grand     90,009 95,512 90,035 90,076 99,448
Rocky 91,779 90,069 90,038 90,114 96,576
Vermilion 65,149 56,045 55,087 63,203 73,645

Steelhead Growth

YEARS IN LAKE   AVERAGE LENGTH (INCHES) AVERAGE WEIGHT (POUNDS)  
1 17 2-3
2 23 4-5
3 26 6-7
4 28 8-10


Where to Catch Steelhead
Last Updated: April 11, 2020

During the course of the next two+ weeks (April 13 thru ~May 1, 2020), the Ohio Division of Wildlife will be completing their annual stocking of yearling steelhead in the 6 Lake Erie steelhead program tributaries (Vermilion, Rocky, Chagrin, Grand, Ashtabula rivers and Conneaut Creek. The fish are coming out of our Castalia State Fish Hatchery, and we will have the assistance of many hatchery personnel and trucks from around the state.  We will be on a tight schedule and will be delivering over 62,000 pounds of fish with over 40 truckloads. That having been said, and given current COVID-19 guidance and restrictions, we request the following: Please give hatchery trucks and personnel a wide berth.  Do not interfere with the stocking operations, and practice extra social distancing. Do not offer to help or walk up to the trucks or stocking tubes to chat with our employees. They have a job to do safely, and they have to move on. We can’t risk our staff becoming coronavirus carriers back to the busy hatchery. We appreciate your understanding during these difficult times.  If you have any questions, e-mail kevin.kayle@dnr.state.oh.us. After the stockings are completed, we will be reporting out the final distribution numbers.  

If you happen to catch any of these stocked yearlings, please release them as gently as possible. They are the future of this great fishery!

There are many public access areas on Ohio streams. If you are on private property, you must have landowner permission. Don't trespass! Private landowners have the right to restrict access on their property. In Ohio, you can gain access to the stream from public access points, but private land ownership includes their land under the stream. Many of our main steelhead streams listed above are navigable streams, meaning you can float a boat through them to fish; however, you cannot get out of your boat and stand on private property to fish unless you have the landowner's permission.

How to Catch Steelhead

Typical set-ups are long (7-10'), limber, spinning or fly rods with light line (4-8 lb. test). Common lures in the fall, early winter, and again in the spring include small (1/16 to 1/80 oz.) marabou or synthetic hair jigs tipped with maggots rigged with split shot under a light pencil-thin bobber.

Spoons (Little Cleo, KO Wobblers, etc.) and spinners (Rooster Tails, Vibrax, etc.) are commonly used on piers, beaches and lower stream reaches. These lures and other hard-bait minnow-imitating lures can also be trolled in harbors, lower river, and nearshore lake locations early and late in the season.

Flyfishers (using 6-9 wt. rods and weight-forward lines) prefer larger, weighted fly patterns, such as nymphs and streamers like woolly buggers, princes, egg-sucking leeches, stonefly and shiner patterns and clouser minnows.

Egg fly patterns (single or cluster, sucker spawn, etc.) work well as a single fly or in tandem with a nymph or streamer once the fish move upstream. Salmon or trout eggs are fished as either individual eggs or grouped together in mesh "spawn bags" about the size of a dime or nickel. Eggs can be bounced along the bottom with the current or fished at or near the bottom suspended under a bobber.

The fish will be oriented to cover or moderate to deep water pools in the fall, and move into cuts or gravel runs as they make their way upstream for spawning. As stream temperatures warm during the spring, expect fish to be more likely to chase flies, lures or bait and to be found in riffles and runs. Then in mid April - mid May, they move back downstream and into Lake Erie for the summer.

Related Links

Sandusky River and Maumee River Fishing Update

The most recent river walleye and white bass reports.

  Maumee River Sandusky River
Water Conditions The river level is near normal and fishing conditions are good. Wading to Bluegrass Island is allowed at this time.  Water visibility is poor. Water temperature is 46º F. The river level is below normal. Water visibility is poor and the water temperature is 46º F.
Fish Being Caught Walleye are being caught in large numbers at this time. Fishing pressure is low. Fishing pressure is low due to limited access.
Best Baits Walleye: most commonly used bait is a Carolina rigged floating jig tipped with a twister tail on an 18 - 36 inch leader with between 1/4 - 5/8 oz of weight depending on water flow.  Bright colored twister tails usually work the best.

White Bass: anglers use a number of lures and live bait, including; small jigs, and spinner baits and jigs tipped with minnows. Brightly colored lures and twister tails are the most productive.
Walleye: most commonly used bait is a Carolina rigged floating jig tipped with a twister tail on an 18 - 24 inch leader with between 1/4 - 5/8 oz of weight depending on water flow.  Bright colored twister tails usually work the best.

White Bass: anglers use a number of lures and live bait, including; small jigs, and spinner baits and jigs tipped with minnows.
Best Locations Best location seems to be Jerome Road at this time. With the limited access anglers can still use Orleans Park, Ft. Meigs, and Side Cut Metropark. Buttonwood Access re-opened this morning. Please see the update at the top of the page for access area closures and contact locations before fishing. The situation is changing by the day. Anglers should maintain at least 6 feet of separation from others in the river and the parking lots. Access is very limited at this time. Fremont has closed access to all city owned access points and Sandusky County Parks has closed vehicle access to River Cliff Park
 
Attention: The no fishing zone between Rodger Young Park and the old Ballville Dam has been removed. Anglers may now fish this section of the river from public access sites. Do not enter the river through private property.
Outlook The walleye run is past the peak but there are a lot of fish in the river. Note that the City of Maumee has closed their public parking, including street parking, and public access points for fishing the Maumee River. Please check with local parks, lakes, and public areas about access before visiting. Anglers should practice safe distancing recommendations both in the water and in parking areas. The walleye run is past the peak, but anglers should be seeing good numbers of Walleye in the river.  Anglers should practice safe distancing recommendations both in the water and in parking areas. Note the city of Fremont has closed their public parking and public access points for fishing the Sandusky River. Please check with local parks, lakes, and public areas about access before visiting.
 
  The daily bag limit for Walleye, Saugeye and Sauger is 6 fish.  Minimum size limit is 15 inches. 

Black bass possession is limited to 1 fish 18" or greater in the Lake Erie zone from May 1 - June 26, 2020.
The daily bag limit for Walleye, Saugeye and Sauger is 4 fish from March 1 - April 30 and 6 per day starting May 1st.  Minimum size limit is 15 inches. 

Black bass possession is limited to 1 fish 18" or greater in the Lake Erie zone from May 1 - June 26, 2020.

Anglers are reminded that Lake Erie fishing regulations apply in the Sandusky River up to the Waterworks Dam in Tiffin.


Central Ohio (District 1)

Regional Lake Comparisons

Survey Results 

Stocking Results

Central Ohio Lakes 

Alum Creek Lake

Fishing Forecast

Recent bass surveys have shown a strong year class of largemouth bass hatched in 2016. This should provide anglers with good numbers of “keeper” fish in the 13-16 inch range. Alum Creek continues to provide some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the state with many fish in the 10-14 inch range and numerous bigger fish reaching 5-6lbs. Excellent survival of saugeye stocked in 2017 has led to an abundance of larger fish in the 17-20 inch range. Even better survival of saugeye stocked in 2019 will result in increased catches of “short” fish under 15 inches in 2020. However, this year class of fish will continue to provide good numbers of keepers for the next few years. Alum Creek continues to produce good numbers and sizes of crappie, with recent trap net surveys resulting in the best catch rate of crappie over 11 inches in the last ten years. Numbers were above average for the lake but below district and statewide averages, which is common in larger, deeper lakes where trap nets don’t fish as efficiently as they do in smaller, shallower lakes. Hoop net surveys showed channel catfish numbers similar to other area lakes with many fish in the 15-20 inch range. Muskie continue to be stocked annually. The best opportunities for anglers to catch these trophy fish are usually May through July in the reservoir and March through April in the spillway. In addition, Alum Creek has an excellent white bass population which can be targeted by anglers in the upstream portions of the reservoir during their spawning run in May or throughout the main basin from late summer through the fall when they congregate to chase large schools of shad.

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys

Angler Survey


Delaware Lake

Fishing Forecast

Delaware Lake is primarily known for its excellent crappie population. Consistent reproduction by both black and white crappie have led to good numbers of both species. Results from annual trap net surveys indicate a large proportion of fish over nine inches, especially for black crappie in recent years. Angler catch rates are above average, and crappie tournament results have produced fish that average one pound at weigh-ins. Delaware continues to be a popular destination for bass anglers and tournaments. Electrofishing numbers of largemouth bass have trended down the last five years but there’s still good numbers of fish, mostly in the 12-15 inch range. In 2018, catfish hoop net surveys produced a catch rate of channel catfish that was three times the statewide average and the highest in central Ohio. Despite these large numbers, the size structure was relatively small with approximately three quarters of the catfish sampled less than 15 inches. Delaware Lake also has decent populations of bluegill and white bass that can be caught in good numbers during different times of the year.

Fish Surveys

Angler Survey


Hoover Reservoir

Fishing Forecast

Hoover Reservoir is home to a wide diversity of sport fishes that are commonly targeted by anglers. Regarded as one of the best catfishing lakes in the state, it boasts great populations of channel, flathead, and blue catfish. Blue catfish were first stocked in 2011 and have survived and grown very well in the reservoir since then. Growth rates are quite variable but some of the older individuals are already reaching weights of over thirty pounds. The saugeye population has rebounded nicely after several consecutive years with poor survival of stocked fish. Average to above average stocking success since 2017 has led to a robust population with many sizes of fish ranging from 10-20 inches. In addition, Hoover received a stocking of walleye in 2019 for the first time in over thirty years. This is part of a three-year study comparing the survival, growth, and angler catches of walleye and saugeye in Hoover. The reservoir is also known for its great crappie population. Both black and white crappie can be found in large numbers, with trap net surveys showing an even proportion of fish above and below the nine-inch minimum length limit. Good numbers of bluegill are also found in Hoover and typically reach lengths of 7-8 inches. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass inhabit the reservoir, although largemouth are much more abundant. Most bass sampled are between 12-18 inches, but excellent growth rates of both species provide anglers with good opportunities to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass over twenty inches. Hoover also has a large white bass population that can provide great fishing opportunities during their spring spawning run up Big Walnut Creek in the spring or throughout the year when schooled up chasing shad. Many Fish Ohio sized white bass (>14”) are caught by anglers in Hoover every year.

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys

Angler Survey


Indian Lake

Fishing Forecast

Indian Lake is one of Ohio’s best saugeye lakes based on angler reports and gill net surveys. Consistent survival and excellent growth of stocked fish in this shallow and extremely productive lake have led to good numbers and sizes of saugeye available to anglers. Currently, there is an abundance of age-2 saugeye from an extremely successful 2018 stocking. Many of these fish will be over the 15-inch minimum size limit by early summer 2020 and could reach close to 18 inches by late fall. The crappie fishery has also done very well in recent years with a large population of both black and white crappie over nine inches. Not just a numbers lake, Indian provides anglers with a great chance at catching very large crappie in the 14-16 inch range. Largemouth bass have done well with the abundant shallow water habitat and vegetation at Indian Lake. There are good numbers of fish, although the large majority are under 15 inches. Indian Lake is one of the best bluegill fisheries in central Ohio and is one of the few lakes where anglers can consistently catch fish over eight inches. Approximately half of the channel catfish caught in the most recent hoop net surveys were exactly eight years old, with most falling in the 18-20 inch category. Because of their long life span, these catfish should continue to grow and remain in good numbers for years to come. To complement the channel catfish population, the naturally occurring flathead catfish population has continued to grow over the past decade with numerous fish in the 20-30 pound range caught by anglers every year. White bass are also abundant in Indian Lake and are often caught incidentally by anglers targeting other species. They can be targeted during the spring though, when they make a spawning run up the South Fork of the Great Miami River near the Moundwood access. 

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys

Angler Survey

 


Northeast Ohio (District 3)

Northeast Ohio Lakes 

Berlin Lake

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys

Angler Survey


Southeast Ohio (District 4)

Regional Lake Comparisons 

Survey Results 

Stocking Results 

Southeast Ohio Lakes 

Burr Oak 

Fishing Forecast

Recent fish surveys show a good distribution of Largemouth Bass sizes from 3 to 23 inches and has been a consistent producer of fish over 18 inches.  Surveys also show a very stable population that consistently put it as one of the top bass lakes in the area.  Sunfish are typically small here with most fish in the 5 to 6 inches range with few fish reaching 8 inches.  White Crappie are the dominate crappie species in the lake but Black Crappie are present in lower numbers.  Most crappie are in the 7 to 8 inch range but fish over 15 inches are caught every year.  Channel Catfish numbers are average compared to area lakes with sizes from 10 to 25 inches with good numbers between 15 and 20 inches.  Flathead Catfish are occasionally caught here too.

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys

Angler Survey


Lake Rupert

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys

Angler Survey


Piedmont Lake

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys

Angler Survey


Salt Fork Lake

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys


Seneca Lake

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys

Angler Survey

 


Southwest Ohio (District 5)

Regional Lake Comparisons 

Survey Results 

Stocking Results

Southwest Ohio Lakes 

Acton Lake 

Fishing Forecast

Recent fish surveys continue to show a robust population of largemouth bass of all sizes, with fish ranging from 4 to 22 inches and up to 15 years old.  Crappie populations have improved with the removal of the 9 inch length limit and 30 fish bag limit. Both the growth rates and overall length of surveyed fish have improved.  White crappie dominate the system.  Saugeye grow well in Acton, with fish reaching 23 inches in 3 years.  Bluegill size and numbers have improved in recent years with some fish reaching 8 ½ inches.  Acton is an unlimited horsepower lake, but for motors larger than 10 hp, it is idle only.

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys


C.J. Brown Lake

Fishing Forecast

Clarence J. Brown Reservoir located at Buck Creek State Park continues to be a premiere inland walleye destination.  The abundance of gizzard shad allows for incredibly fast growth of sportfish and most of the lake is open water habitat, with very few bays or coves.  Walleye grow to 15 inches in 1.5 years and exceed 20 inches in 2.5 years.  Catching a walleye over 10 pounds is possible, especially in fall through early spring.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass have good populations and sizes within the lake, while crappie population are not strong in size or number but may be found throughout the lake.  Bluegill sunfish grow well at C.J., along with several other sunfish species like longear and green sunfish.  Muskellunge have recently been added to the stocking list for C.J. Brown, with early results suggesting great survival and growth.  On a windy day, the lake can be quite a challenge with few places to shelter from wind and wave…but the main boat ramp and the marina are both well protected from the weather and offer great places to launch or store your boat.

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys


Caeser Creek Lake

Fishing Forecast

Caesar Creek is the deepest lake in Ohio, with depths over 100 feet at the dam and features a complex shoreline of steep drop offs, shallow bays and lots of structure.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass are found in good numbers throughout the lake, with fish over 22 inches possible.  Crappie continue to do well in Caesar, with fish reaching 11 inches in 4 years.  Saugeye continue to flourish in Caesar Creek, with excellent numbers and sizes.  Muskellunge have been stocked since 1998 with excellent survival and growing rapidly to over 40 inches.  The newest addition to the lake is blue catfish, first stocked in 2018 and showing good survival and fast growth.  Blues are a prized native sportfish with the potential to exceed 100 pounds.  Caesar Creek has a newer marina to server boaters on the lake with multiple annual rental slips and a gas dock.

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys


Cowan Lake

Fishing Forecast

The most recent largemouth bass survey at Cowan Lake indicates an excellent population for size and numbers.  Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) with electrofishing gear was 226 bass per hour compared to the statewide average of 93.  Largemouth ranged in size from 4 inches to 22 inches with fish up to 14 years old in the survey.  Saugeye have been stocked in Cowan since 2001 and maintain a strong population with good numbers caught over 15 inches.  Crappie continue to do very well in Cowan with good numbers and sizes of fish.  With the recent addition of fish attractor structures, crappie anglers should continue to experience excellent fishing opportunities. Even with its smaller size, Cowan has a good population of large flathead catfish and a healthy channel catfish population.  In the upper portions of the lake, large beds of water lotus and water lily may be found in the summertime.

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys


Rocky Fork Lake

Fishing Forecast

Recent surveys at Rocky Fork Lake show a strong distribution of largemouth bass, with the majority ranging from 12 to 18 inches with fish up to 22 inches observed.  On average it takes 3 years for a largemouth to reach 12 inches and 5 years for 15 inches.  Rocky Fork also maintains an excellent population of both white and black crappie, with fish averaging 10 inches and up to 14 inches.  Both channel and flathead catfish may be found in Rocky Fork with good numbers and sizes of each as well as an excellent population of large white bass.  For those who like something different, Rocky Fork Lake is a great place to test your gear against common carp, there are good numbers in the lake and they grow in excess of 30 pounds.  Rocky Fork also has submergent weed beds along the shoreline that help support sunfish and yellow perch populations.

Structure Coordinates

Fish Stockings

Fish Surveys


Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory

Annual Advisory

To protect the health of anyone who eats Ohio-caught fish, an annual advisory for how often these fish can be safely eaten is prepared by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA).

View the most recent Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) manages an interactive map of fishing advisories in Ohio.